Friday, February 24, 2017

Kindergarten Kindness

Did you know that the first four letters of kindergarten and kindness are identical? This is from April 10, 2013.

I have two planning periods worked into our eight period school day at Westbury Christian. My off times are fifth period, which is right after I eat lunch, and seventh which, well, you can figure out is right after sixth. Often during my seventh period, I have to go to the other side of the building so I cut through the playground area, an artificial turfed arena of all the little child drama you could ever want to witness. Often my short cut through the playground coincides with the recess/snack time of some of my favorite fellow Wildcats, our two five year old kindergarten classes. Recently, I've joined them for snacks on several occasions and they always make room for me at the picnic table under the awning. Our teachers are terrific, Gereta Semanek and the  just slightly younger Sarah Adams, one of my former students. (And may I add both are fellow Harding alums!) As I passed through today, Spring Picture Day, Mrs. Semanek told me she had a story I needed to hear. It seems that earlier in the day, her class of seven girls and three boys was returning from music and was about to re-enter her room. One of the young men, Solomon, when they reached the door, stepped back and let all the young ladies go in first. Seeing his example and following his lead, Grant and Maurice, the other two boys in the class, walked to the back of the line, entering only after the girls had walked inside. As she finished telling me the story, Mrs. Semanek had the three boys come over and we shook hands. I'm not sure they knew what it was all about but that's OK. Someday, they will.

As we talked a little bit more, Mrs. Semanek told me that she had mentioned to her class how I let the girls go first in my classes when we get supplies and how all the boys stand up when girls/ladies come into our classroom but that it had been some time since they had discussed it. But the gentlemen under her care were listening and today put it into practice and it did not escape the ever vigilant eye of their teacher. Look, I'm not saying boys need to treat girls like delicate flowers but I've never known anyone of either gender or any age who did not appreciate being treated with kindness and that's what Solomon, Maurice, and Grant did today. And people do pay attention to the way we treat others. Two years ago, there was a young man in my sophomore Gospels class named Daniel. He would not enter my classroom until every young lady had done so and when the bell rang, he would not leave until every young lady had done so. The boys did not notice- they were in a rush to leave- but rest assured that every one of the thirteen girls in that seventh period section of the Life Of Christ noticed that simple act of graciousness. It's amazing how many times Jesus treated women respectfully in situations where the elite would have shown disdain. In a modern culture where boorish behavior from my gender is tolerated and sadly sometimes even rewarded, I know three young men who could give lessons on the Golden Rule..... and they didn't have to say a word. There was a powerful sermon preached in our kindergarten today, and it did not matter that the audience was as small as the preachers.

 Vaughn Ripley

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Mrs. R said...

I hope Russell and (coming soon) JD will be this kind. I know at the times the boys in my class didn't fully understand the impact these acts of kindness, but I bet its made them into better gentlemen today.
Thanks for teaching this to us all.